Fall is rapidly approaching, which means three things in New England: more comfortable temperatures, fewer tourists, and stunning foliage. Take advantage of the changing conditions by trying one of these classic New England hikes:
Greeley Ponds, New Hampshire
This straightforward out-and-back trail winds through an old growth forest in the White Mountains, eventually ending at two dramatic ponds. If you’re coming from Conway, the trailhead is located on the Kancamagus Highway (look for a parking lot on the left after Kancamagus Pass).
Mount Tom, Massachusetts
Nestled in the hills of Western Massachusetts, Mount Tom is a classic choice for those looking to enjoy the fall foliage. If you’re a birder, make sure to go in September and October, when thousands of hawks pass over the mountain on their migration south. While there is rumored to be a trail for all abilities, try the section of Metacomet-Monadnock Trail that runs up and across the mountain (6.5 miles). The trailhead is located on Route 141 outside the town of Holyoke.
Bigelow Range, Maine
Although the Bigelow Ridge is less famous than Mt. Katahdin, it is one of Maine’s most dramatic ranges. The ridge curves around the enormous Flagstaff Lake and offers views of Maine’s tallest peaks. By combining the Fire Warden’s Trail and Horn Ridge Trail, you’ll traverse the entire ridge (9.5 miles) and pass over both West Peak and Avery Peak. To access the trailhead, turn off ME-27 at the the dirt Stratton Brook Road.
Champlain Mountain, Maine
Acadia National Park is renowned for its dramatic fall foliage and there is no better place to enjoy the show than from the top of Champlain. The mountain runs along the ocean and in early mornings fog clings to the outer islands. There are a variety of trails to the top, including the highly-exposed Precipice Trail. For people less comfortable with heights, follow the Beechcroft Trail up Huguenot Head and over to Champlain.
Camel’s Hump, Vermont
One of the tallest mountains in Vermont, Camel’s Hump offers views of the Long Trail and the Green Mountains. The mountain’s summit is covered in alpine vegetation, which is beautiful, but delicate. To access the Monroe Trail (6 miles), follow Camel’s Hump Road to the upper parking lot.
Bear Mountain, Connecticut
At 2,316 feet, Bear Mountain is the state’s tallest peak. While the elevation may not impress you, the views of Massachusetts and Connecticut will, especially when the leaves have changed to orange, yellow and red. The most direct route is the Overmountain Trail, which connects to the Appalachian Trail before the mountain’s summit (6 miles round-trip).